Introducing Open Solutions Alliance

Robin 'Roblimo' Miller robin at
Mon Feb 19 05:22:52 UTC 2007

Chris DiBona wrote:
> Gforge: Doesn't offer project hosting, but project hosting software.
> Savannah: Doesn't offer non-gpl hosting and is not reliable and has  
> history of unreliability.
> Google: Doesn't host other than the core 7 or so licences (I should 
> know) (It is teh awesome though)
> Nothing personal, but let's be real here, does a -lot- for open 
> source software. Doesn't mean that this OSA things means anything.

Disclosure: Chris DiBona worked for VA Software/OSTG before he decided 
to tread the evil/not evil line at Google (which also runs on lots of 
proprietary software). reality = implementation is everything. The sheer amount of 
*work* that keeps it running is not visible from the outside, nor is the 
huge VA/OSTG financial commitment to this site even during times when 
it's been a financial drag on the company. We sweat, strain, and 
struggle to keep going because we realize that it's a major 
community resource, a public service rather than something intended to 
make a profit (although we are a for-profit company and like every part 
of it to pay its own way).

The original reason for code going proprietary -- and the 
creation of the "SourceForge Enterprise Edition" proprietary software 
product -- was abuse. was always supposed to host only projects 
that used OSI-approved licenses, but we kept finding proprietary 
software people using the site's facilities. Sure, they'd *claim* to use 
an open source license, but they'd never release any code. Our bosses 
went into a rage over this. I'm not saying their reaction was what it 
should have been, but you've got to give them credit for keeping 
going despite that problem and many others.

I have had more than a few heated arguments with our CEO, Ali Jenab, 
over code licensing and other matters.

Note, though, that he hasn't fired me and I haven't quit.

When all is said and done, I have tremendous respect for Ali. I don't 
agree with all of his decisions, but I give him huge credit for taking a 
company that was once a poster child for dot-bombness and slowly, 
patiently, turning it into a profitable and sustainable organization.

Now that VA is profitable instead of struggling for its (corporate) 
life, I'm sure we'll reopen the code licensing question again.

Meanwhile, quietly and behind-the-scenes, we are making major 
contributions to the Xaraya CMS project and building whole new book 
publishing venture whose sole purpose is to create high-quality, up to 
date documentation for open source software.

As far as "our" participation in OSA.... in a corporate sense we're 
suckers for almost anything that looks like it might boost the 
Linux/FOSS cause.  I'm not in favor of every one we sponsor (or at least 
publicize for free) but most of them end up doing the world some good, 
and in the end I think that's what counts.

- Robin

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